The ill-fated 2017 Fyre Festival was such a disaster that Fyre Media founder William “Billy” McFarland ended up in federal prison. Apparently, McFarland wants to try to launch Fyre again.
Billy McFarland partnered with Hip Hop artist Ja Rule to present the so-called “luxury” music festival on the Bahamian island of Great Exuma. Attendees arrived at the location to discover a lack of security, food, and expected amenities.
Thousands of festival-goers found themselves stranded in The Bahamas after Fyre Festival organizers canceled the entire concert. Local vendors and laborers reportedly never received compensation for their work. Various plaintiffs filed multiple lawsuits.
Two separate documentaries about Fyre Festival further publicized Billy McFarland’s horrible planning and false advertising. Hulu’s Fyre Fraud came out on January 14, 2019. Netflix’s Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened arrived four days later.
Despite the widespread negative perception associated with the Fyre failure, Billy McFarland teased a comeback on Twitter. The convicted felon tweeted, “🔥 Fyre Festival II is finally happening. Tell me why you should be invited.”
One Twitter user reacted to McFarland by writing, “Tell me why you shouldn’t be in jail.” The alleged con artist responded, “It’s in the best interest of those I owe for me to be working. People aren’t getting paid back if I sit on the couch and watch TV. And because I served my time.”
A Manhattan federal court sentenced Billy McFarland to six years in prison after he pled guilty to wire fraud. The case stemmed from McFarland’s plot to defraud investors in his Fyre Media company and Fyre Festival.
“Billy McFarland has shown a disturbing pattern of deception, which resulted in investors and customers losing over $26 million in two separate fraud schemes,” stated then-Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman.
McFarland received an early release in March 2022 before moving into a halfway house. In a December 2022 interview with Vanity Fair, the “poster boy for millennial scamming” acknowledged that he “really messed up” with the 2017 Fyre Festival.